These days, Facebook and Twitter feeds are full of ‘Be like Bill’ messages. For instance, “Bill doesn’t send Candy Crush requests, Be like Bill.” In addition to that, you may also see your friends’ names with such messages, like ‘Rohan doesn’t check-in on going to the hospital, Be like Rohan’. This is THE new rage on social media.
But who is Bill?
Bill is a character who talks about modern etiquette and how to behave online. Bill is polite, doesn’t preach and only advises. But Bill’s messages are loud, clear and sometimes funny. (Bill is also oddly reminiscent of our very own sanskaari Alok Nath, which took the Internet by storm in early 2015.)
Bill memes started appearing towards the end of 2015, but it’s only recently that they’ve been flooding social media platforms. Now, ‘Be Like Bill’ has a dedicated Facebook page with over 1.3 million followers, and growing. The page was created by a Milan-based Moldovan Eugeni Croituru who calls himself an “Internet entrepreneur”. Talking to BBC about Bill, he said, “The idea is very simple. ‘Bill’ can be anyone who is smart and has common sense and doesn’t do annoying things. You’ll also notice Bill can be someone who makes fun of himself and jokes about others too occasionally.”
After the meme’s success, people with different languages and in different countries have come up with their own version of Bill. In India, Bill is often called different names. Pages have sprung up by the names of Billu, Sid, and who not. And believe it when we say they are hilarious. But some are even using the meme to voice their opinion on society-driven issues and social ills.
In Malaysia, Bill is called Rashid
In Arabic, Bill is called Bilal
For Spaniards, he’s Jose
It doesn’t end there, now there is an option for everyone to become Bill. An application called Funpepper.com, in collaboration with Facebook, allows you to make your own #BeLikeBill thought which can be posted under your name. Though, one does not have much control over it because it analyses your profile and comes up with its own statement.